5 Reasons Tina Turner Should Be in the Rock Hall of Fame
Like fellow 2021 nominee Carole King, Tina Turner is already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: She was inducted with Ike Turner in 1991 for their groundbreaking soul and R&B music. However, the Tennessee native born Anna Mae Bullock is now up for a second Rock Hall induction for her solo work.
For the woman known as "The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," the honor is long overdue. Although her professional career began in the late '50s, her musical surge starting with 1984's Private Dancer propelled her to superstardom. She received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, a cherry on top of recognition that also includes Kennedy Center Honors and membership in the Memphis Music and Soul Music halls of fame. Even though Turner retired from the road in 2009, she's remained in the public eye with a hit jukebox musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and a documentary on her life, Tina.
Here are 5 Reasons Tina Turner Should Be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Her Success Rivals Any Megastar's
Turner took a while to find her solo footing, but once she did, her career took off. She had 13 Top 40 hits — including six Top 10s, like the No. 1 single, "What's Love Got to Do with It," which won a Record of the Year Grammy — and sold more than 5 million copies of Private Dancer. In the '80s, she also won the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance a staggering four times, starting with 1984's "Better Be Good to Me." On top of her musical achievements, she's also acted in select movies, including 1985's Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which earned her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.
She's One of the Most Amazing Live Performers Ever
YouTube offers a treasure trove of jaw-dropping vintage footage of music's greats. These clips include plenty of mesmerizing Tina Turner performances from throughout her career. It's hard to pick just one video to spotlight, although highlights include her and Mick Jagger performing "State of Shock" at Live Aid and a barn-burning 1994 live take on "Addicted to Love." And in 2000, she headlined Wembley Stadium, and commanded the stage — not an easy feat in such a massive space.
She's a Versatile Interpreter
It's a cliche to say that a musician can sing anything, but in Turner's case, it's true. She has such an expressive voice and dynamic range, no genre is off limits. Her 1974 solo debut, Tina Turns the Country On!, featured her takes on Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson songs and today is considered a landmark country-soul album. A year later, she was tackling songs by the Who and the Rolling Stones, and on Acid Queen; her urgent, soulful take on the Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together" is superlative. Once Turner officially went solo, these interpretations became even more ambitious. For example, the 1984 blockbuster Private Dancer contains her versions of songs by the Beatles, David Bowie and Ann Peebles. All told, Turner's also won pop, rock and R&B Grammys — the only woman ever to take home trophies in all three genres, and just the third artist overall ever to achieve this feat.
She Deserves Rock Hall Induction for Her Solo Achievements
Turner's professional and personal relationship with Ike Turner was marked by physical and emotional abuse. Among other things, Ike changed her name to Tina as a means of controlling her, and in her memoir, I, Tina: My Life Story, she details having to make a final escape from their relationship by running across a freeway. "It was just time to not take any more," she said in 2017. "It was constantly abusive, other things going on, there was no control, there was no freedom, it was just the same this, same this and the violence. You just get fed up and you say, 'Life is not worth living if I’m going to stay in this situation.'" From a musical standpoint, there's no question that Tina's catalog with Ike is influential. But her solo career is even stronger, more successful and more enduring — and in the Rock Hall, she deserves to be honored for the work she did on her own and not have her only musical recognition be alongside a partner who treated her with such cruelty.
It's Time More Women Are Inducted
Less than 10 percent of Rock Hall inductees are women. It's time that gender imbalance is rectified, and the opportunity exists with recent nominees like Turner, King, Kate Bush, Chaka Khan and one of music's most successful all-women groups, the Go-Go's.